The Battle of Ashton Hill
With the failure to capture the bridge over the river Avon at Keynsham (see The Battle of Keynsham Hams), the AotSV commander was forced to switch his main point of attack to the East towards Bath. A small scale diversionary attack had met with unexpected success as the forces of the Bishop of Bath and Wells Anglican League had been caught with their cassocks down. A BUF armoured train had advanced with ease through the defences at Bitton station and had pushed on to the railbridge over the Avon a few hundred yards down the track. The remaining Anglican League troops fled in disarray leaving the right hand flank defences of Keynsham wide open. The race was now on to see whether the Anglican League could muster a blocking force in time to seal off the gap or if the AotSV could de-train enough forces at Saltford Station to advance through the gap and into the wide green fields and beyond.
The Anglican League responded more quickly and were able to set up a blocking force on Ashton Hill, controlling the roads South of the river Avon between Bristol and Bath. With the opportunity to turn the flank and threaten Keynsham, the 33rd Infantry Brigade took their time to deploy their forces to try and ensure this operation met with maximum success. The rapid and fluid nature of the situation meant that neither side had the opportunity to prepare artillery barrages or field defences. However the close proximity of airfields at Filton and Lulsgate Bottom meant that both sides could rely upon some form of close air support.
It had been a while since Craig and I had been able to meet up for a game due to the usual pressures of work and family commitments, but at last we were able to find a free date. Craig was keen to give his Anglican League forces a run out so I came up with a simple scenario based upon the above.
The scenario was essentially Scenario 6: Exploitation as it fitted the background fluff rather nicely. We did tweak it to allow both sides FACs and air support as Craig had a couple of rather nice Wings of War models that we wanted to use on the table, so other than that the scenario was the same as per the rulebook.
Attackers: 2,250 pts
Defenders: 1,500 pts
33rd Infantry Brigade of the Army of the Severn Valley
Officer Commanding Lt-Col 'Cad' Carstairs of the Gloucestershire Regiment.
1st Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment
Major 'Beastly' Blenkinsop
Capt 'Crikey!' Carruthers
G.R.A.P. Staple Hill Division
Major 'Weirdly' Strangeways
Capt 'Dodgy' Crookenden
B.U.F Kingswood Fascist Committee
Capt H P Flashman
- 2 Troops from the 1st RTR
- 1 Squadron from the Italian Expeditionary Force
- 1 Recce Squadron from the 17/21 Lancers
The Anglican League
Bath's Anglican League Territoral Infantry (BALTI)
3rd Southern Anglican Gunners (SAG), Anglican Logistics, & Operations Office (ALOO)
CO The Very Reverend Archibald Spooner
HQ Canon Stanley Young
HQ Reverend Percival White
Take Your Places Please
The Anglican League were able to deploy on the left hand side of the table in and around Ashton Hill with it's commanding views of the Avon valley and beyond. The 33rd Infantry Brigade could deploy anywhere on the right hand table edge with one unit deploying on either short table edge up to half way.
The Anglican League deployed on and around the crossroads with two artillery units on the hill to improve their fileds of fire. Canon Stanley Young and his troops took position on the left flank in the cornfield at the top of the table, with Reverend Percival White and his tanks on the right flank. The Very Reverend Archibald Spooner sat on the crossroads to maximise his influence on the forces under his command.
The 33rd Infantry Brigade sent the Rolls Royce armoured cars of the 17/21 Lancers out in advance to scout for the enemy. They were quickly located and battle was soon to be joined. Archibald Spooner encouraged his troops with " If God is with us none can stand against us" while 'Cad' Carstairs put his faith in "Might is Right". Only time would tell whose words would be the most prophetic.
The 33rd Infantry Brigades assault got off to a patchy start. Capt 'Crikey!' Carruthers, Major 'Weirdly' Strangeways, Capt 'Dodgy' Crookenden and Capt HP Flashman were none too keen to join the fray and their forces were conspicous by their absence on the field of battle. Fortunately Major Reilly-Ffoul and 'Beastly' Blenkinsop led the way with Lt-Col 'Cad' Carstairs leading the armoured units onto the field via the Saltford Golf Course, something that did not go down too well in the clubhouse.
Only the Reverend Percival White responded to the threat from the forces arrayed against the Anglican League and moved his Somuas into a position to threaten the 33rds left flank, but then halt in plain view of the enemy armour and AT guns.
Lt-Col 'Cad' Carstairs armoured column advancing across the gold course, with the Gloucesters and KFC moving up in support.
The 25mm AT gun deploys to protect the advance with the L3/35 tankettes racing towards the orchard, whilst Leviathan and Behemoth make slow but sure progress forward.
The KFC under the command of Major Reilly-Ffoul move towards the road and the cover of the wood.
The 33rds advance gathers momentum as more units begin to arrive, somewhat shamed into action by their comrades. The 17/21 Lancers advance on their own initiative to gather more information on the enemys dispositions. 'Cad' Carstairs leads by example and combined fire by the AT gun, Leviathan and Behemoth sees both Somuas suprressed.
With the Somuas suppressed, Percival White orders his armoured cars to make a tactical withdrawl out of the line-of-fire of the 33rds armour and support. The only other action is sniper fire which supresses the 33rds FAC.
The 33rds infantry units begin to make their presence felt.
The view of the supressed Somuas.
The Italian tankettes take out the sniper with massed machine gun fire whilst the Gloucesters and KFC carry on with their steady advance, with the former nearing the orchard to support the armoured units. The Staple Hill Division are somewhat tardy with 'Dodgy' Crookenden still dawdling towards the battle and definately not advancing towards the sounds of gunfire. 'Cad' Carstairs armour and support units destroy one Somua and suppress the other with combined fire, but fail to press home their advantage.
Canon Stanley Young finally stirs into action but only does a modest and rather ineffective advnace. Percival White fails to get through to his armoured cars and the FAC manages to call in air support, only for it to be seen off by enemy aircraft.
The attack by 'Cad' Carstairs is taking its toll on the Anglican right flank, with the Gloucesters and KFC advancing towards the orchard and through the wood.
The threat posed by the 33rds armoured support and infantry to the Anglcian right flank.
The KFC make good progress through the wood.
Leviathan, Behemoth and support in all their glory.
Biggles arrives over the battlefield...
... only to be seen off by Adolf Galland.
Major 'Weirdly' Strangeways and his Police units advnace to the hedge line to help pin down the Anglican Leagues left flank, whilst the KFC advance up the road and through the woods with the Gloucesters pushing towards the orchard to try nad turn the Anglican Leagues left flank. 'Cad' Carstairs tanks and support finsih off the remaining Somua which leaves the left flank wide open.
With things not looking too good on the right flank, Reverend Percival White moves his armoured cars back into the cornfield for some improved cover and Reverend Archibald Spooner sends some infantry to support them.
The flank is now open.
The Gloucesters move up in support of the armour.
Major Reilly-Ffoul leads the way.
The flank begins to be turned.
The Staple Hill Division and the KFC fire and manouevre in the centre and on the right flank, destroying one mg unit in the process. The Gloucesters fail at a critical moment but 'Cad' Carstairs comes to their rescue and orders them into the orchard after moving Leviathan and Behemoth and support onto the road. An order of the tankettes sees a blunder with them advancing towards the Anglican recce unit on the road.
The Anglican League are running out of options and order their troops to take up defensive positions.
The flank well and truly turned.
Infantry, armour and support working in unison.
The L3/35 tankettes set off towards the recce unit on the road as a result of the blunder.
The FAC gets through to Lulsgate Bottom and Adolf Galland arrives after dodgin ack-ack and enemy aircraft to bomb and strafe the cornfield, resulting in an armoured car hit and infantry unit supressed. The Police continue to exchange fire with Canon Stanley Youngs troops resulting in the supression of one infantry unit. A blunder causes the KFC to advance towards the enemy with another blunder by the Gloucesters resulting in an infantry attack on the armourec cars in the field, the result of which is the destruction of the infantry unit. 'Cad' Carstairs armour is slowly swinging the battle in favour of the 33rd Infantry Brigade as Leviathan and Behemoth put pay to an armoured car with their concentrated fire.
The Anglican League take the fight to the enemy where possible, resulting in two units being supressed, but possibly a case of too little too late.
Adolf Galland makes his attack run.
Leviathan and Behemoth dominate the road and left flank with the destroyed armoured car in the distance. The Gloucesters folhardy attack across the road from the orchard as a result of the blunder.
The dominance of the battlefield by the 33rd is clear to see.
Biggles once again seen off by Galland.
The forces of Canon Stanley Young suppressing some of the KFC.
The Staple Hill Division try to press home on the right flank but to no avail, with the KFC suppressing some enemy on the hedgeline, only for Major Reilly-Ffoul to blunder and retreat down the road. 'Cad' Carstairs is single handedly taking the battle to the enemy, with the armour and support units finishing off the last armoured cars, then ordering the Gloucesters to advance towards the cornfield.
Biggles, somewhat miffed at being out flown by the Boche, makes his mark on the battle by making a very effective bombing run, leaving two units hit and four suppressed. The Anglican League are still making a fist of it, destroying an infantry unit, but unable to put up any defence against the armour, the writing is on the wall.
The tanks and Gloucsters move up onto the road and Ashton Hill.
Pushing along the road towards the remaining Anglican League forces and Keynsham.
Biggles defys all efforts to prevent his attack...
... to deliver quite a blow to the KFC forces in the woods.
With the battle seemingly won, the units of the 33rd were understandably reluctant to poke their heads above the parapet. In a last ditch attempt, Anglican League troops assualted Behemoth, only to be destroyed in the process. With this, the Very Reverend Archibald Spooner ordered his troops to make a tactical withdrawl towards Keynsham, leaving the forces of the 33rd in control of the battlefield and roads to Keynsham.
So with the game over, it was time to tot up the scores. Both sides were still contesting the middle and final third of the table, so honours were even there. However, the damage inflicted by the 33rd Infantry Brigade on the Anglcian League forces was significant, thereby giving them a major victory.
As always it was great to play a game against Craig and a first in our SCG campaign. Craig learnt a lot about how his forces performed so now has a good idea of what re-inforcements he needs to get. Both of us had units that did very little throughout the game; for me it was my Staple Hill Division and for Craig it was the infantry under the command of Canon Stanley Young.
The battle was very much won by 'Cad' Carstairs who had a CV of 9 and was able to get my left flank going at just the right time. Once Craig lost his Somuas so early on, it was always going to be a tough ask to win the game. However it was not a forgone conclusion as it took until nearly Turn 7 to get enough infantry units into the middle and final thirds of the table to give me victory.
I look forward to a re-match with Craig sometime soon, once he has had chance to tweak his forces and to see if the forces of the AotSV can be halted as they were at Keynsham!